Salesman of the Year

    The 2016 presidential primaries have scorched innumerable campaign trails across the nation, like so many well-meaning, patriotic arsonists. Fellow Southeastern Connecticutians might be excused from fully appreciating the quality and quantity of fireworks currently being set off in other parts of New England, upon distant New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Here, along the placid…

Election 2012 Part II: Four More Years

written November 7, 2012   Shenandoah Elementary, a few blocks north from Magnolia Avenue in St. Louis, was in full swing by five in the evening to vote, when May and I (she choosing to make it a party with hip hop in my car while waiting).  A good turnout in the dizzily night, all…

A Bloody Travesty of a Sorry Event (And the Civil War Was There, Too)

written November 24, 2012     This will be an easy day, I thought.  Just seeing a simple movie, while visiting home with my girlfriend May during Thanksgiving, I thought… Sonya my sister then hopped into the room, having  a question about a famous black comedian from Peoria she didn’t know (Richard Prior), which continued…

He’s Still Remembered Reverently By Used Car Dealers

written April 25, 2012     Was Abraham Lincoln “great”? This question was posed to us by Dr. Hansen in January. We could have said yes: he of the five dollars, toys logs, and marbled thrones.  But that would have left a lot of time to fill.  What Dr. Hansen was trying to suggest was…

The Pain You’re Feeling In Your Side Is Democracy (I Think)

written June 1, 2016 Something fantastical and absurd occurred yesterday on the campaign trail. After checking the history books it can confirmed it had never happened before. It made people in Toledo queasy, and others in Albuquerque absolutely anxious. The fact the many Americans cheered this same moment caused those in Toledo to feel all…

44: An Oral History of the Election of the Barack Obama

The Forward to 44: An Oral History of the Election of Barack Obama Studs Terkel died one week ago tonight. I heard about it on NPR radio the next day while driving from from Alton to Edwardsville, Illinois. An interview with Studs was being replayed on the air, in which has was describing one of…

Hitting Unpause: One Sailor Waits No Longer

The following interview was conducted December 1, 2008, part of a series of discussions called “44,” with people of varied background about their reactions to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. This interview is with Jeremy Gordon, at the time a student at Rutgers University, and a former member of the United States Navy, who…

You Don’t Dance in the Street: One Man’s Reality

The following interview was conducted November 6, 2008, part of a series of discussions called “44,” with people of varied background about their reactions to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. This interview is with Richard Carlson, a retired butcher from a small town in west-central Illinois, and the authors’s father. I include this interview…

Keeping Fingers Crossed: Will Barack Obama Be Her President, Too?

The following interview was conducted November 7, 2008, part of a series of discussions called “44,” with people of varied background about their reactions to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. This interview is with Joanne Carlson, a fifth-grade English teacher and the mother of the author. She has taught in the same small town…

Thomas Jefferson, New Virginian

written March 2009 The history of Virginia, from the first Tidewater settlements to the advent of the Civil War, is built upon the struggle for land and the substantial labor required to make the Commonwealth agriculturally productive. The question was inescapable, and throughout this era was tied to what it meant to be a Virginian….